Saturday, May 02, 2009

Marshalltown School District Cancels School for a Week Due to H1N1 flu

The Marshalltown School District is cancelling school next week due to 6 reported cases of the H1N1 flu in the county, including students at several schools.

From the Des Moines Register...
A spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Health said none of the patients required hospitalization. But Marshalltown’s schools are being closed to try to prevent more infections.

The news came a few hours after Gov. Chet Culver declared a public-health emergency in the state.

Culver’s declaration was based on federal confirmation of an Iowa case of the disease, also known as swine flu. The confirmed case involved a southeast Iowa woman who became ill last week after returning from a vacation in Mexico, where the disease first cropped up.

Culver’s declaration allows the state more flexibility in trying to slow the disease, also known as swine flu.
The Marshalltown Times Republican says officials are waiting on more test results to be confirmed.
Marshall County Public Health now reports six probable cases of the virus in the area with five more tests pending results. Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center has set up an emergency call center for those with H1N1 virus symptoms at 641-754-5270. Hospital officials recommend those who believe they are infected to call the number first. They have also set up an emergency flu clinic in a remote area of the hospital.
**Update at 10:00 pm**

In response to the outbreak, Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center was aggressively screening potential patients for signs of the flu. People were asked to phone in before coming to the hospital so staff members could whisk possible flu cases in without exposing other patients.

La Rae Schelling, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said most of the suspected flu patients ranged from elementary-school age to high-school age. She said they tended to have fevers of at least 100 degrees, plus coughs and sore throats. 

Some of them came from the same households, she said. “We have not had to hospitalize anyone, thank goodness,” she said.

Schelling declined to comment specifically on the patients’ medical treatment. But she said in general, patients who have the new flu but don’t require hospitalization are given anti-viral drugs. They are sent home and told to rest there for seven days. 

“That means seven days, whether they feel better or not,” she said.

Schelling said some of the ill children had traveled recently within the United States, but none had visited Mexico.

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